The New America Foundation has some questions about Obama's education budget. First two questions concern early education.
1) The program would fold several current literacy programs – including Striving Readers and Reading is Fundamental – into one program. How will that pot of $450 million be divided among children's ages and stages of development? Research shows that the birth-to-8 years provide the critical foundation for learning how to read. Will this new literacy program allocate funds to that age range in a proportion equal to its importance in reading and language development?
2) The request expands Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation – two competitive grant programs to encourage innovation and reform in states and school districts that are currently funded with one-time economic stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Will the administration ensure that early education programs (including publicly funded pre-K) are explicitly included in these grant programs? Could the incentives within these programs be designed to support alignment and coordination with the Early Learning Challenge Fund, the birth-to-5 grant competition that is currently awaiting movement in Congress?